Doin’ the electric ride

Phillip Yu, manager of retail services for the Kingston Port, takes a casual drive in an electric car. - Kelly Joines/Staff Photo
Phillip Yu, manager of retail services for the Kingston Port, takes a casual drive in an electric car.
— image credit: Kelly Joines/Staff Photo

KINGSTON — A new tourist vehicle is a GEM for Kingston. Literally.

Zipping along at speeds of 25 miles per hour, the Global Electric Motorcar has the ability to travel about 30 miles between charges, which is perfect for Kingston’s core where roads are only 25 mph anyway, said Mike Bookey, Port of Kingston manager.

The pint-size, street-legal motorcab was adopted by the Port of Kingston last week for its guests to use, for free.

“Everyone’s curious about it and with fuel prices so high, that’s the future,” Bookey said, pointing to the little tyke. “It’s really an overgrown golf cart. We’re mixing it up with the big boys.”

Local land management company Olympic Property Group (OPG) loaned the car to the port through October.

“It’s totally fun to drive. It gets right up to speed and zips right around town and it fits in half a parking stall,” said Jon Rose, OPG president, adding its advantages to downtown cores with little parking.

Local Kingston resident John Coyne said he can’t wait to moor up at the guest dock to use the car.

“It’s perfect for anyone around here instead of hauling all your ice and beer back,” he said. “I just saw it driving up the street in Kingston. It’s a great idea.”

The car can fit two people and a cooler — just enough to head up to Kingston Thriftway, grab groceries and necessary beverage items.

Already its use is improving local commerce, Bookey said, who estimates about a dozen people use the car each day for errands.

“It’s better for our local economy. They use it to go to the grocery store, hardware store and the liquor store but usually they don’t own up to that,” he said laughing.

Bookey said many guest dock users are from Edmonds. Instead of walking up to Thriftway they would carry groceries back and forth over the ferry because it was easier to use their car on the other side to get to the store.

Now that they can use the loaner car, local stores might see more thoroughfare and fuller grocery bags.

“It’s great to have a loaner car and it’s twice as interesting to make it sustainable,” Rose said.

Steve Koepp, visiting from Mukilteo, was one of the many who used the car to get groceries for his boat stay.

“(It’s a) great asset to the marina — allowed me to get needed supplies,” he said. “(It) makes a very good impression of the marina and Port of Kingston.”

Bookey said he’s not too worried about anybody making off with the vehicle that can only travel 30 miles away from the marina.

“If they don’t come back with it we have their boat hostage,” he said laughing.

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